Huge Majority In Support of State Services in Irish - Poll Reflects Deep Affection For Gaelic

In a poll commissioned by The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaelige) and conducted by the prestigious firm Kantar/Millward Brown, majorities throughout Ireland are shown in support of the provision of State services in Gaelic on demand. Opinion in the Republic was 7 to 1 in favor of Gaelic with support exceeding 50% in favor as shown in a separate polling district in Ulster. 

Significantly 35% of respondents in the Republic claim to understand Irish although fewer were confident in speaking Gaelic.  Thus based on 2013 population estimates, there are 1,700,000 residents of the Republic who understand the ancient Celtic tongue of Ireland.  These results hardly show a dying language. Conversely the polling data demonstrate a healthy vibrant language that enjoys the support of the majority of the Irish people.  These results support the statement recently made in  “Contrary to popular perception, the total number of people who can speak Irish in this country has increased slightly in recent years, with a 7% increase in number of speakers between the two most recent censuses in 2006 and 2011.” 

Earlier this month Transceltic reported encouraging news from Dublin in that a report commissioned by a Committee of the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas Eireann) recommended a minimum of 10% of public workers in all departments be proficient in the Irish language.  In addition, the Committee recommended that the visibility of Irish on both official online resources and social media be enhanced and all official documents should be published bilingually in a single document.  This was widely hailed as the first step in reversing  the Irish government’s October 2013 decision to abolish a long standing system which gave bonus marks to people sitting for civil service entrance exams in Irish.   The reversal of policy on the Irish language proficiency of bureaucrats, if the Committee’s recommendations are acted upon, can only be viewed as a reflection on the growing support for the Irish language.

In reporting on the poll results, the Irish Times in an article “Survey Finds Majority Favours Provision of Services in Irish”, quoted Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, president of Conradh na Gaeilge, proclaiming the “historical significance” of the poll results as reflecting the depth of support for the tongue throughtout Ireland.  Further, the Times quoted the General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, Julian De Spáinn, calling on both Irish and British governments to provide state services “of equal quality” in Gaelic on demand.  The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaelige) is the main voluntary community organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and abroad.  It's main aim is to reinstate the Irish language as the common tongue of Ireland.

Map of Gaeltacht, the Irish-Speaking areas of Ireland. Image courtesy of Wikipedia:

Map of Gaeltacht

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